All of our instructors are accomplished artists and are the foundation of our studio. Whether teaching a semester class, party, or private lesson, our instructors love sharing their knowledge and passion for pottery with others!
Lisa Mendoza (she/her) is the owner and founder of two successful businesses: Painted Pot and ClayHouse Brooklyn. Her passion for clay stems from college when she participated in several shows on campus. After graduating in 1987 with a B.A. in communications from Hofstra University, she continued her clay education at various schools in NYC while working in television. In 1998, Lisa gave up a successful career in television as a video editor to start her own business: Painted Pot and Clayhouse Brooklyn. Her goals to explore, create pottery, and find a healthier lifestyle balance in her community led her to open several studios in Carroll Gardens, Park Slope and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Today, the business has grown tenfold and Lisa manages the studio with the help of Clayhouse Director Lizzie Butler, and our team of incredible studio technicians. The result is a clean, student-friendly, professional pottery studio.
Director + Instructor
Lizzie Butler (she/her) manages the inner-workings of the studio and is also a wheel instructor, graphic designer, photographer, and creator of Sea Salt Water ceramics. Forever inspired by the sea, her pottery greatly is influenced by the experience of growing up on “The Forgotten Coast” in Florida. Lizzie is always seeking to find the perfect balance between form and function, creativity and design. She enjoys introducing beginners to the world of ceramics and helping more advanced students discover their style and voice in such a versatile medium.
Assistant Director + Instructor
Elena Sonnenfeld’s love for ceramics translates into her dedication for teaching, managing the inner workings of the studio, and studio development. Elena began wheel throwing when she was seven years old and has continued throughout her whole life. Graduating from Pratt with a focus on accessible design, she brings the idea of individualizing the ceramics process for every body to both her classes and the studio. Within her own practice she incorporates ideas of accessibility and inclusion for the users of her pieces. Elena loves helping her students find their own unique way to achieve their ceramics goals.
Studio Technician + Instructor
Xenia Lane works at Clayhouse Brooklyn as a studio technician and teaches kids and adult classes as well as private lessons. Xenia comes from California – she studied ceramics at San Francisco City College and during these years, she trained as a studio technician and worked as an assistant preschool teacher. In 2019 she moved to Brooklyn to attend The School of Visual Arts. Her studies in fine art with a focus in sculpture have allowed her to refine her vision in functional dining ware, underglaze design and marbled porcelain.
Studio Technician + Instructor
Mia Calixto is a Brooklyn born and raised artist. Mia loves painting, mixed media, photography, and ceramics. Mia is a self-taught potter who learned everything by observing the techs and instructors at this studio. In 2019, her passion for ceramics grew deeper after teaching “Clay & Art After-School and Summer Camp” classes. For Mia, the best part of teaching is watching kids create their ideas out of clay. “It’s amazing to see how much joy it brings them,” she says. Mia is currently a college student majoring in Communication Design.
Studio Technician + Instructor
Gus Laughlin is a visual and performance artist based in Brooklyn and a lover of all things clay. He uses humor in all his work across mediums as a way to celebrate the absurdity of the everyday. Gus has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from NYU Tisch’s Experimental Theatre Wing. He also produces live comedy events throughout the city. Ask him for the best pottery-making videos on TikTok—he has seen them all.
Alejandro Ceballos was born in the Dominican Republic and migrated to the United States at an early age of four. Alejandro spent his formative years growing up alongside his siblings in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. With an ardent flair for pottery, he honed his skills and became a Pottery Technician at Williamsburg Charter High School till this day. Ever since then, he has aspired to turn his passion for pottery into a full-fledged career.
Julie Knight is a graduate of the Ringling College of Art and Design and majored in printmaking. She has been living and working in the art world of Manhattan for the past 15 years. In the last decade, Julie has been focusing exclusively on clay at the Greenwich House Pottery in New York City. Knight was awarded the Anna Soik Award for Ceramics in 1999 and was the recipient of the 2009 Mary Blakeley Fellowship at the Haystack School of Crafts in Deer Isle Maine. The focus of Julie’s pottery is on the overall form, (specifically the relationship between the foot and the rim), and unique surface decoration. Julie’s goal as a potter is to create work that is both functional and beautifully tactile.
Melissa Stanley has been teaching wheel classes to both adults and children at Clayhouse since 2014. She began her journey in clay in the late 90’s when she worked as a studio assistant in exchange for wheel classes at Earthworks Pottery on the Upper East side. Later she pursued a degree in ceramics and was a studio member at Greenwich House Pottery for many years. Melissa welcomes students of all levels and enjoys guiding her students through the many explorations of ceramics. BA Ceramics, MA Art Education.
Lilian Wu Finckel
Lilian (she/her) found pottery in high school and has been hooked ever since. She loves to help both beginner and intermediate potters hone in on techniques and refine forms, while leaving room for expressive and individualistic practices. She is passionate about community studios, and finds joy in cultivating relationships and collaborations in arts spaces. Alongside teaching at Clayhouse Brooklyn, Lilian is a Manager and Teacher at Gasworks NYC.
Noah Heil (he/they) first fell in love with clay while attending Macalester College in his home state of Minnesota, where he studied Studio Art, Spanish & Portuguese. After graduating, Noah continued to refine his craft while working as an instructor, studio assistant, and production potter in various ceramics studios around the Twin Cities area. Noah recently moved to Brooklyn from Minneapolis, bringing with him his love for clay and midwest enthusiasm.
Eital Schattner-Elmaleh (she/her) first began throwing on the wheel at 10 years old and has been creating decorative and functional ware for nearly two decades since then. Eital strongly values creative collaboration and has been a part of over a dozen studios giving a broad range of experience to her teaching techniques. She believes that anyone can create anything with the right support and guidance and is passionate about breaking down the process of wheel throwing into digestible pieces so that students can become proficient in the process and let their creativity guide their work.
Michele Godwin (she/her) is a beginner wheel teacher at Clayhouse Brooklyn. Michele creates ceramics using simple shapes, sometimes she adds drawings or does sgraffito which makes a pot look like a wood cut. Michele has a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and a MFA from City College. Michele has worked with different art organizations for over twenty years, and cares about the students she works with.
Susannah Wilson (they/she) is an instructor at Clayhouse Brooklyn and at Choplet Ceramic Studio in Williamsburg. She also works as an assistant to Kyle Lee at his private studio in Gowanus. An actor by training, Susannah delights in the tactile and permanent nature of ceramics, which is so distinct from the ephemeral work of performance. As a teacher, Susannah encourages their students to try, fail, and try again, remaining open to the creative opportunities that mistakes might offer. Susannah holds a BFA in Acting from Emerson College.
Sally Rabinowitz (she/her) is a ceramicist, art therapist, and traditional talk therapist based in Brooklyn. Sally is passionate about ceramics and sees it as both an art form and a unique tool for communication. Her personal pieces focus on movement and possibilities within the various layers of the clay process. When she is not in therapy sessions with patients, she is working on her wheel throwing skills.
Casey Lin is a sculptor working mostly in clay. She is an instructor at ClayHouse and teaches handbuilding classes. After graduating from SAIC with a BFA, she is now working out of her studio in Gowanus. Casey is interested in materiality and pushing boundaries when it comes to ceramic processes. She loves to challenge her students to go outside of their comfort zone and to learn from doing, as well as incorporating artist references and history into her classes as well.
Miles Younkin (he/him) is a potter and sculptor with nearly 10 years of experience in clay. He respects and draws inspiration from traditional, especially ancient and folk ceramics, but still embraces the freedom of expression and non-functionality found in modern art. His work is tactile and approachable, avoiding pretense and complication, and emphasizes form and texture over surface decoration.
My name is Alexis Babian (she/her). I’ve been working with clay for over 6 years now. I studied ceramics, printmaking and psychology at SUNY New Paltz before moving to Brooklyn to work as a manager/instructor for a small studio in Bushwick. There, I explored working with mason stain and using colored clay to create patterns and imagery in my work. Currently, I teach wheel throwing and hand building at a few studios around Brooklyn. The clay community has been so welcoming and I feel lucky to be a part of it! In my free time, I enjoy napping with my cats, sewing and playing animal crossing.
Will Caiger-Smith (he/him) grew up around pottery, but didn’t truly get the bug himself until a couple of years ago — at which point he became hopelessly obsessed. Originally from England, he’s lived in Brooklyn for nearly a decade and has been teaching ceramics since 2021.